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Alex Landau responds to feds' decision not to charge Denver cops who brutally beat him

Organizations hoping to bury unpleasant or potentially controversial news traditionally release information late Friday, in the hope that many folks already in weekend mode miss the development. A classic example: Justice Department reps chose Friday at 6:30 p.m. to inform Alex Landau that they would not be charging the three Denver police officers who brutally beat him with federal civil rights violations. No surprise that Landau is incensed by this turn of events, as are numerous supporters. Look below for details, the lawsuit and more photos from after the incident.

As Joel Warner reported in detail for his 2011 feature article "Black and Blue," Landau was a nineteen-year-old Community College of Denver student when he was pulled over by police on January 15, 2009, allegedly for making an illegal left turn.

Marijuana was subsequently found on Landau's passenger, a fellow student named Addison Hunold, prompting the officers -- identified in the lawsuit as Ricky Nixon, Randy Murr and Tiffany Middleton -- to ask if they could search his trunk. Landau is said to have responded by stepping toward the officers and quizzing them about whether or not they had a warrant -- at which point they began punching him in the face. The attack caused Landau to fall, but the beating continued for several minutes, with one officer yelling, "He's going for the gun." (Landau was unarmed.) Once they finally stopped the assault, one officer reportedly put the following question to him: "Where's that warrant now, you fucking nigger?"

A lawsuit over the incident was filed in January 2011, and Landau eventually received a $795,000 settlement from the City of Denver for the damage done to him. But officers Nixon, Murr and Middleton still have not been punished for their actions in the incident. Murr was eventually fired for taking part in another high-profile excessive-force case involving Michael DeHerrera, and Nixon, too, was canned in connection with his role in an alleged assault on four women at the Denver Diner, also in 2009. However, he was later reinstated and remains on the Denver police force, as does Middleton.

Last week, a Denver judge ruled that the city could be put on trial for police brutality over the Denver Diner case -- and the officers who pummeled Landau could still face punishment resulting from a Manager of Safety inquiry whose results were delayed due to the federal investigation. But this prospect offers little solace to Landau.

Look below to see a Landau's statement, included in a release by the Colorado Progressive Coalition, with which he now works; that release also features comments by CPC racial justice and civil rights program director Mu Son Chi. In addition, we've got remarks from Holland, Holland, Edwards & Grossman, the law firm that represents Landau. That's followed by the complete lawsuit, from which the post-beating photos of Landau seen above and on the next page are taken. Warning: They're extremely graphic.

Continue to see the statements, photos and lawsuit.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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